Is Smelling Heating Oil in Your Home Dangerous?


smelling heating oil

Our sense of smell can alert us to many different things. Some smells, like burning from the oven, are there to alert us of immediate danger. Other smells, like flowers, are pleasant and nothing to be worried about. While we wouldn’t say that smelling heating oil is as pleasant as sniffing roses outside of your home, there is nothing to panic about.

Is Smelling Heating Oil Dangerous?

When heating oil burns, you will notice a distinct scent like burnt oil. It does not smell like natural gas, which has a rotten-egg odor. The fumes that natural gas creates when it is leaking inside of your home are dangerous, but the fumes created from heating oil are non-toxic and typically do not pose any risk to your health. Penn-Mar Oil Company uses high-quality heating oil that does not contain any harmful additives or carcinogens.

Heating oil cannot catch on fire unless it is heated to 410 degrees or hotter in a furnace environment. That means there is virtually no risk of it igniting in your home, also unlike natural gas. An oil leak, if that is the issue with your furnace or heating oil tank, is not anywhere near as dangerous as a natural gas leak. At worst, an oil leak will harm your heating system and the wood or flooring around it. While that is undesirable, it is far from the more serious consequences of a gas leak!

Why Am I Smelling Heating Oil in My Home?

  1. If you have not turned your furnace on this fall or winter, there can be an odor when you turn it on for the first time. The smell should naturally dissipate once the furnace warms up and dust that settled in the system is burned off. This is completely normal, and it might take at least a few hours to totally go away.
  2. Another common reason you might be smelling heating oil is a leak in your system. Depending on the age of your tank and the maintenance that you have performed, oil could be leaking from the lines, fittings, or the tank itself. If you see oil stains around or under the tank, do not touch the tank and call a professional instead.
  3. If you notice a heating oil odor long after turning the furnace on and don’t see any leaks, you could have a clogged nozzle. Our heating oil is optimized to never clog a nozzle, but older furnaces and those without proper maintenance can still have issues. If fuel oil does not combust fully, it can lead to an odor. Schedule maintenance and repair as soon as possible to fix the problem before it gets worse.

Complete Your Heating Oil Storage Tank Maintenance with Penn-Mar Oil Company

Penn-Mar Oil Company is proud to be the preferred heating oil provider of Pennsylvania and Maryland residents since 1936. We offer high-quality kerosene, heating oil, and off-road diesel, all backed up by our exceptional customer service and convenient delivery service. To order heating oil, please call us today at (717) 276-9617 or visit us online.